Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bruschetta alla Caprese

Continuing to build the entertaining repertoire. Amy and I fed the Elders and some friends a few days ago. She wanted Italian, and we both wanted to create a menu that, though plentiful, would create the impression of lightness and coolness. We didn't want anyone sweating over soup or slogging down fettucine alfredo-- our house can get quite warm and muggy on summer nights, especially when it's full of people, which it so often is. Amy made some turkey-vegetable skewers, and I made a dish I remembered eating at restaurants, a bruschetta (toast) topped with a cut caprese (tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad). I thought it turned out quite tasty and sophisticated, and it got eaten quickly. For dessert I made the lemon curd and berry pavlova that I made for Mother's Day, and people seemed to really enjoy the looks and flavor of that too.

Brushcetta alla Caprese

somewhere around 2 c chopped (into 1/2 inch dice) well-flavored roma tomatoes
about 8 oz fresh mozzarella (not low-moisture pizza cheese), in 1/2 inch dice
a handful of fresh basil, shredded with scissors
1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Blend topping ingredients and season to taste. Refrigerate about 2 hours. Before serving, drain of excess moisture.

a long, thinnish crusty Italian-style white loaf, cut into 1/2 inch slices
garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half, as needed
extra-virgin olive oil

Broil the bread until it is crisp on both sides. Rub one side of each piece of toast with cut garlic. Sprinkle with olive oil. I think guests should be allowed to spoon on their own caprese topping, so that the toasts don't get soggy.

Zucchini Bread

The garden yielded up big sudden zucchini a couple weeks ago, good pretty much only for zucchini bread. Our first zucchini bread making appointment happened before I could get Mom's recipe, so I used the one from the Joy. It was a well-tested, successful recipe, but it wasn't the same. The next time, I used Mom's recipe. The beautifully domed, finely crumbed and very tasty loaves were vastly superior, even though about 6 cooks worked on the recipe, which can spoil even the best of recipes.

Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
2/3 c. oil
2 c. sugar

Beat the above together. Stir in

2 c. grated zucchini
2 t. vanilla

Mix together.

3 c. flour (can use part whole wheat)
1 t. salt
3 t. cinnamon
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder

Stir into the liquid mixture. Add

2 c. chopped nuts if you like.

Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 325 degrees F. for 60 minutes.